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Viral ‘sushi terrorism’ trend in Japan leads to three arrests

Three people were arrested in Japan for allegedly carrying out what has been described as “sushi terrorism”.

Police made the arrests over the bizarre viral social media trend that involves unhygenic food pranks, mostly involving sushi, in a country popular for its hygiene and cleanliness standards.

One video had shown the three accused tampering with sushi being served on a conveyor belt at a restaurant.

One of them was seen grabbing a piece of sushi from a plate circulating on the food belt, putting the whole morsel in their mouth and then drinking soy sauce directly from the common bottle which was used by others in the restaurant, reported The Japan Times.

The three accused were arrested from Aichi Prefecture, local police said on Thursday.

These include 21-year-old Ryogo Yoshino and an unnamed 15-year-old girl arrested on Wednesday, while a third 19-year-old man – whose identity was withheld – was arrested last month.

Their antics, seen as first of their kind in Japan, have been dubbed “sushi terrorism” online and sparked outrage.

They have been arrested on charges of seeking to obstruct business at major restaurant chain Kura Sushi.

Several people flooded the restaurant with customer complaints after the video went viral online.

The trend had people tampering with food served at different chains picked up shortly after showing similar videos on Twitter and TikTok.

Other pranks showed customers touching moving pieces of sushi with a freshly licked finger or sucking the rim of a cup before putting it back on a shelf.

Officials at the Kura Sushi restaurant had ordered an emergency cleaning, leading to difficulty in normal business operations, the police spokesperson said.

Kura Sushi welcomed the arrests in a statement.

“We sincerely hope the arrests will spread awareness in society that these pranks, which fundamentally undermine our system based on a relationship of trust with customers, are a crime, and that there will be no copycat acts in future,” it said.

The stocks of another chain – Sushiro – plummeted last month after a video at the restaurant showed a teenage customer licking the top of a shared soy sauce bottle.

“This is sickening,” one Twitter user said.

“I can’t go to conveyor belt sushi restaurants anymore.”